Army Air Corps in Germany

Army Air Corps in Germany

In its decades-long presence in Germany the British Army Air Corps used various airfields, barracks and airfields. In addition to some of these smaller airfields also free concrete surfaces were used as heliports in some barracks.

Due to the fact that the Army Air Corps will leave Germany forever in 2013 this rough guide to Army Air Corps aviation in Germany was more than overdue.

Locations

Berlin-Gatow

7 Flight, Berlin-Gatow

With its four Sioux AH1 No 7 Flight was responsible for general liaison duties of the Berlin Infantry Brigade, an independent unit of the BAOR and also for “showing the British flag”. The unit was based at RAF Gatow since 1970. From the late 1970s the unit swapped its Sioux for three Gazelle AH1. No 7 Flight was disbanded in October 1994.

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Bünde-Ostkilver (Birdwood Barracks)

27 Flight

Until December 1969 No 27 Flight was based at Bünde equipped with Alouette AH2. Then the unit converted to Scout AH1 and was renamed into 652 Sqn.

652 Squadron (Teil des 2Regiments)

652 Sqn initially flew with twelve Scout AH1 from Bünde. The unit was based here from October 1969 to 1978 in the northern area of the Birdwood Barracks. The Squadron was regularly detached to Northern Ireland. The HQ as well as the management was temporarily located into the Tunis Barracks in Lübbecke. On January 1st, 1983 the Squadron moved to Hildesheim to become part of 1 Regiment. After that Bünde-Ostkilver was no longer used by the AAC.

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Detmold (Hobart Barracks)

655 Squadron, Detmold

In April 1962 No 655 Squadron was reformed in Detmold, initially equipped with the Alouette AH2 and entrusted with General liaison duties. Later the unit also flew Scout AH1 and also Beaver AL1 and from 1964 to 1969 became a part of the 4 Division Aviation Headquarters. Helicopters used were XR602, XT631, XT649, XV138 and XW282 in 1975. The squadron then received the new designation of 659 Sqn. In 1979 No 655 Sqn was reformed in England.

4 Regiment (654/ 660/ 661/ 662 Sqns and 654/ 659/ 669 Sqns), Detmold

4 Division Aviation Regiment was formed on October 24, 1969. This included No 654 Aviation Squadron in Herford, No 661 Aviation Squadron in Detmold and No 662 Aviation Squadron in Münster. In 1972 No 662Sqn moved to Münster to become a part of 2 Regiment and in return 660 Sqn moved to Detmold. On January 1st, 1973 No 4 Division Aviation Regiment subsequently received the new name of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps. Until November of 1977 nothing changed then the Regiment retained only two units, 661 Sqn (new: A squadron) in Detmold and 658 Sqn (new: B squadron) in Minden. On December 1st, 1978 No 661 Sqn was renamed to 654 Sqn and 658 Sqn to 664Sqn.

Around 1978 AAC 4 Regiment was formed virtually from scratch at Detmold with Nos 654, 659 and 669 Sqns (both ex 9 Regiment). 654 Sqn initially had 12 Lynx AH1 in stock. In 1989 the Regiment was part of 4 Armoured Division in Hammersmith Barracks, Herford. 654 and 659 Sqn were equipped with three Gazelle AH1 and nine Lynx AH1/ AH7 each, at the beginning 669 Sqn flew with six Scout AH1 utility helicopters and six Gazelle AH1 for liaison duties for HQ 1(BR) Corps. After decommissioning of the Scout the unit flew six Lynx AH1 (utility) and six Gazelle AH1 (liaison). 659 Sqn as the only Squadron at Detmold received the modern Lynx AH9 in approx. 1993. At the beginning of the 90s No 669 Sqn was incorporated into 4 Regiment as part of 4 Armoured Division, keeping the same formation of aircraft but the Lynx were now used in the anti-tank role. From December 1994 to March 1995 the entire Regiment moved to Wattisham.

No 71 Aircraft Workshop was also based at Detmold. The unit was responsible for all maintenance of AAC helicopters in Germany. The southern part of the airfield is still used for civil aviation, the hangars of the AAC are now used by different companies.

9 Regiment (659/ 669 Squadrons), Detmold

In early 1977 No 659 Sqn moved from Osnabrück to Detmold and became part of the new 9 Regiment until June 1983. No 669 Sqn was the other Squadron of the Regiment. Until November of 1981 the Regiment flew Scout AH1. Then the unit was reequipped with Lynx AH1 and Gazelle AH1. So for example in 1983 No 659 Sqn flew three Gazelle AH1 and nine Lynx AH1. In the same year both Squadrons became part of 4 Regiment at the same site and 9 Regiment was disbanded.

1 Flight, Detmold

No 1 Flight was was born from the 1 Recce Flight with oyster AOP9 in Detmold in 1958. Since 1967 the unit flew Skeeter and Sioux AH1, since 1968 it was additionally equipped with Scout AH1. On October, 1st of 1969 the unit was renamed into 661 Sqn.

18 Flight, Detmold

In June of 1961 the newly established 18 Flight as 1 Corps Headquarters Flight in Detmold received the first of the new Alouette AH2. Until 1969 the unit was based here and then became part of  655 Sqn at the same location.

© Günter Grondstein XR378 Alouette AH2 18 Flt, Düsseldorf (1963)

© Günter Grondstein XR378 Alouette AH2 18Flt, Düsseldorf (1963)

22 Flight, Detmold

22 Flight also operated out of Detmold from 1960 until 1962. Then the unit was disbanded.

Visitors in Detmold:
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Gütersloh (Princess Royal Barracks)

1 Regiment (651/ 652/ 661 Squadrons), Gütersloh

The Regiment was formed in January 1983 in Hildesheim, Germany with the three Squadrons 651, 652 and 661. In June 1993 1 Rgt AAC moved to Gütersloh. Until 2000 the Regiment also flew Gazelle AH1. After that the unit only flew with Lynx. In 2002 the Regiment lost the anti-tank task with TOW missiles.

651 Squadron

At first the unit flew with Scout AH1 from Hildesheim, Germany later with Lynx AH1 and Lynx AH7 and later with Gazelle AH1. From June 1993 the unit was based in Gütersloh (with 12 helicopters). No 651 Sqn left 1 Regiment on 31st of March 2000 and moved to Dishforth to upgrade to the new Apache AH1.

652 Squadron

The squadron was based in Bünde from 1978 – 83 as part of No 2 Rgt, equipped with Scout AH1. Then the unit moved to Hildesheim, Germany. Later the unit flew Gazelle AH1 and Lynx AH1 (later Lynx AH7) with a total of 12 helicopters. Since June 1993 the unit was based in Gütersloh. In 2000 the Squadron was equipped with only four Lynx AH7, starting in 2003 with four later with eight Lynx AH9. Later the unit swapped the Lynx AH9 for AH7 and in 2012 the unit received some Lynx AH9A for some months.

661 Squadron

Since October 1st, 1969 the squadron was equipped with Sioux AH1 and Scout AH1 and belonged to 4 Rgt in Detmold, but was based in Herford. On December 1st, 1977 the unit moved to Detmold and was renamed 654 Sqn. 661 Sqn was reformed in Hildesheim, Germany. The squadron flew Gazelle AH1 and Lynx AH1 (later AH7). In June 1993 the squadron moved to Gütersloh with it’s twelve helicopters. In 2000 only four Lynx AH7, since 2003 4 later 8 Lynx AH9 were used by 661 Sqn. The squadron swapped the AH9 model again for Lynx AH7 just to receive some Lynx AH9A at the end of 2012.

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Herford (Harewood Barracks)

654 Squadron

Since October 1969 No 654 Sqn was based in the middle of Herford city in the Harewood Barracks. The A-flight flew the Westland Scout AH1, the B flight was equipped with the Sioux AH1. The Sioux of the squadron were the last helicopters of that type in the entire BAOR! In 1977 the unit converted to the Gazelle AH1. At the end of 1977 the squadron moved to Soest, where helicopters and crews were taken over by 663 Sqn.

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Hildesheim (Tofrek Barracks)

654 Squadron, Hildesheim

654 Sqn was based in Hildesheim from November 1963 until October 1st, 1969 before moving to Herford with its Sioux AH1.

1 Regiment (651/ 652/ 661 Squadrons), Hildesheim

Since April 4, 1978 the newly formed 1 Regiment with its three squadrons was based in Hildesheim as a part of the 1 Armoured Division in Verden. Main task was anti-tank in the southern part of Lower Saxony, Germany. 651 Sqn and 652 Sqn each flew nine TOW-equipped Lynx AH1/ AH7 and three Gazelle AH1. Only 661 Sqn flew twelve Gazelle AH1 in a pure observation role. In June 1993 the squadron moved to Gütersloh and Hildesheim was closed as an AAC base.

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Minden-Minderheide (St. George’s Barracks)

658 Squadron

With its Sioux AH1 the Squadron was based in Minden from October 24, 1969 till April, 1st 1978. From the end of 1976 the unit upgraded to the Gazelle AH1, followed by a name change to 664 Sqn

664 Squadron

On April 1st, 1978 the squadron formed out of 658 Sqn was based in Minden with ten Gazelle AH1. Since January of 1983 the unit acted independently as a Corps Support Squadron of the 1 British Corps GHQ in Bielefeld. The suqadron flew in the liaison and observation role. Used Gazelle AH1 included XW904, XW913, XX416, XX432, XX438, XZ294, XZ300, XZ301, XZ304, XZ309, XZ311 and ZA773. In April 1992 the unit moved to Dishforth. Heliport and the barracks were closed.

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Münster-Loddenheide (Waterloo Barracks)

662 Squadron (part of 2 Regiment), Münster

662 Sqn was formed out of 23 Flight on September 24, 1969 in Münster and until January 1st, 1982 flew as one of only two squadrons of 2 Division Aviation (since December 30, 1976 2 Regiment) from the eastern part of Waterloo Barracks. Initially the unit was equipped with six Scout AH1 and six Sioux AH1 (until October 1st, 1976). Since 1977 the Sioux was replaced by Gazelle AH1 and since 1980 the Scout was replaced by Lynx AH1. In January 1982 the unit moved to Soest and was integrated into the 3 Regiment.

Visitors in Münster:
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Osnabrück (Quebec Barracks)

659 Squadron (part of 2 Regiment), Osnabrück

From October 1, 1969 until December 30, 1976 No 659 Sqn was based in Osnabrück with six Sioux and four Scout AH1. The squadron was part of 2 Division Aviation in Hildesheim, Germany. Since the middle of the year 1976 No 659 Sqn moved to Detmold, as part of 9 Regiment. The Quebec Barracks were no longer used by the AAC.

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Soest/Bad Sassendorf

3 Regiment (653/ 660/ 662/ 663 Sqns)

From April, 1st 1978 until the summer of 1994 No 3 Regiment as a part of 3 Armoured Division was located in Soest/ Bad Sassendorf with 653 Sqn, 662 Sqn (since 1982, ex 2 Regiment) and 663 Sqn (renamed from 660 Sqn from April 1, 1978) in Soest/ Bad Sassendorf. The British took advantage of the barracks and the airport, which had previously been used by the Royal Canadian Army from 1953 to 71.

Main task of the Regiment was tank fighting in the eastern part of Northrhine Westphalia and northern Hessen with eight Lynx AH1/AH7 and four Gazelle AH1 per squadron. The management of the regiment and the soldiers accommodation was also housed in the Salamanca Barracks in Soest. In the period from June 9, 1994 to August 23, 1994, the unit moved to Wattisham. The airfield now is used in civil role.

In 1971 No 660 Sqn moved to Soest as a new unit, flying Sioux AH1 and Scout AH1. 660 Sqn became the first AAC unit in Germany to fly the Gazelle AH1 in 1974. At the beginning the Squadron was part of No 4 Regiment supporting No 6 Brigade at Körbecke but on April 1st, 1978 it was renamed to 663 Sqn under the command of 3 Regiment.

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Soltau (Bournemouth Barracks)

9 Flight, Soltau

9 Flight was based in Soltau with Sioux AH1 and Alouette II some time around 1968. The unit supported the 7 Armoured Brigade.

657Squadron, Soltau

From October 1969 until April, 1st 1978 No 657 Sqn was based in Soltau’s Bournemouth Barracks with six Sioux AH1 and six Scout AH1. There are reports that a flight of the squadron was briefly based in Wolfenbüttel, but these are not confirmed. In 1978 the unit renamed into 661 Sqn. A transfer to Hildesheim followed, ending the use of the Soltau heliport by the Army Air Corps.

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Verden (Caithness Barracks)

9 Flight, Verden

Since around 1968 No 9 Flight operated from Verden flying Scout AH1 and Alouette AH2. Presumably the unit was later integrated into a different flight or Squadron.

26 Flight, Verden

From at least 1968 until 1971 No 26 Flight was based in Verden with Scout AH1 and Alouette AH2.

651 Squadron, Verden

651 Sqn first flew in Verden from January 1, 1973 until April 1, 1978 with the Westland Scout AH1, then moved to Hildesheim, Germany as part of the new 1 Regiment. The Army Air Corps ended the use of the carracks for flying purposes.

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Wildenrath/ Brüggen

31 Flight/ RASC and 131 Flight, Wildenrath

On the November 16, 1964 No 31 Flight was formed out of 12 Independent Liasion Flight at RAF Wildenrath. A further name change came on July 15, 1965 when the unit was renumbered to 131 Flight. The unit acted as RASC Theatre flight. On June 1, 1971 131 Flight was renamed to 669 Sqn.

669 Squadron

669 Sqn was set up in June 1st, 1971 with six Beaver AL1 and four Scout AH1 at Wildenrath (out of the 131 Av Flt). The unit directly supported the HQ in Rheindahlen. On September 1st, 1976 the unit was renamed to 12 Flight.

© Günter Grondstein XV273 Beaver AL1 669 Sqn Detmold (19.07.1975)

© Günter Grondstein XV273 Beaver AL1 669 Sqn Detmold (19.07.1975)

12 Flight

This flight originated from the renaming of the 1912 Light Liaison Flight RAF which in 1953 was based for a short time in Bückeburg, Germany. A year later the unit moved to Wildenrath, four years later it received the new designation 12 Flight and acted as BAOR headquarters flight. From November 16, 1964 it was known as 31 Flight RASC. The flight was newly formed around the year 1970 in Libya. Since September 1st, 1976 the Flight was based in Wildenrath with five, later with four Gazelle AH1. In October 1992 the flight moved to Brüggen into the Javelin Barracks. In the context of the reductions of the Army in Germany the flight was disbanded on March 31, 2009.

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Thank you

We would like to thank everyone that helped us in writing this article: Günter Grondstein, Christian Hölscher, Axel Saal, Peter van Weenen, Simon Wallwork, Peter Hartmann, torstenn, Markus Remfert, Guido Merz, Mike Elbracht, Andreas Brinkmann, Andechs, Erich Westersötebier, HaPe Merschbrock, Sebastian Kreutzkamp

11 comments » Write a comment

  1. Hi, nice website, although there are, inevitably, a few errors.
    I served with 669 Sqn in Detmold between May 79 and May 92. When part of 9 Regt we had six Gazelles for liaison and six Scouts as liaison and utility aircraft for HQ 1 (BR) Corps, switching to 6 Gazelle and 6 Lynx in the same roles when Scout went out of service. After the merge with 4 Regiment we kept the same formation, but the Lynx were used in the anti-tank role as we now supported 4 Armoured Division.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Hi
    Great site !!
    I was with 651 Sqn in Verden 1969 to 1972
    If you need any verification of Sioux or Scout details please email me and I will look in my log book.
    Regards

  3. Very good. 660 Squadron moved to Soest when the Canadian Army left in the early 70s. Initially it had Scouts and Sioux. In 1974 the Sioux left and the squadron became the first one in Germany to receive Gazelles. At that time it was part of 4 Regt AAC and supported 6 Brigade at Korbecke

  4. I would just like to say thank you and well done for all the effort you guy’s have put in to document all this golden history. It is a credit to you.

    Regards,

    Louie.

    Currently flying @ ETUO

  5. I was a “greeny” avionics tech at 131 Flight at Wildenrath in the early 70’s and worked on the Beavers 808,809,810 & 273 that you see in this splendid collection. In fact the O.C. of the flight flew me back to the UK in 1971 in XP809 when my father passed away. We landed at Southend Airport in Essex. I am so pleased to see such great pictures of these lovely old aircraft. My time at Wildenrath was memorable as my first posting from training. Sad to hear that it is no longer a base but that’s just life moving on. Great job putting this together guys. On the Wikipedia site for Wildenrath I noted that there was no mention of army flying and I have edited to correct the omission.

  6. I was at 12 Flt at Wildenrath from May 1977 till May 1981 and the four Gazelle aircraft there at that time were XX435, XX437, XX439 and XX440. As a matter of interest, XX440 was on the civilian register before it was transferred to military service. Wildenrath was my final posting in the Army and was such a fantastic place to be.

  7. Re: BUNDE (Glamorgan Barracks) – I was a 2/lt in the RASC there in 1963/5 and was ‘kicked out of’ my RASC vehicle park on the NE side of Glamorgan Barracks (1964 I think) when it was first ‘re-fitted’ to take AAC Helicopters -namely the Skeeter (2 seat – Saunders Roe) – 3 aircraft of the 2nd Division HQ Flt . (The Division HQ itself was some 15km away but their HQ & Signal Regiment shared Glamorgan Baracks with 2nd Div’s RASC ‘Column’ (its supply vehicles!)
    The Skeeters easily fitted into the metal ex vehicle hangers (the whole of Glamorgan Barracks -Bunde- was a post WW2 build) but that part of the wire perimeter fence that faced onto the new helicopter hanger and landing pad was modified so that it ‘swung down’ to the ground during helicopter movements to allow ‘slanted’ take offs and landings. Glamorgan Barracks was surrounded by farmland -so low level helicopter flying was the norm tnen
    My interest was ‘kindled’ in flying by seeing all of this & later I became an AAC DHC-2 Beaver pilot -but was never ‘stationed’ in BAOR over this period.

  8. 657’s b flight was based at wuffers and was the 16/5th air sqn had some good nights out with some of their guys titch and Granville especially when we had to go to Holland to pick up 4 new bowsers I x 651 1x 658 1×657 and 1xbflt

  9. I stumbled across this site by accident and I was very pleased to see my old unit 664sqn Minden there for all to see. I served from 1985-1989, happy days!

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